Update: Undocumented immigrant activists call off hunger strike, sit-in

Categories: Politics

campaign for an american dream thumbnail.jpg
Big photos below.
Update: After a six-day sit-in and hunger strike, young undocumented immigrants Javier Hernandez and Veronica Gomez left their brief home at the Obama For America headquarters at 5:20 p.m. today. As the National Immigrant Youth Alliance pushes plans to spread their call for an executive order from Obama to the national level, the two activists say they wanted to end their personal efforts to guarantee greater media attention for others.

And because they also expect arrests in the project's future, they wanted to leave the building before that happened -- to them or others. "There are other actions coming up even this week, and we wanted to be out before they happened, to give others a chance to do the same," Hernandez says.

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Kelsey Whipple
City councilman Paul Lopez visited the protesters before their exit, and their supporters cheered for them as they vacated the building. They made the decision to leave this morning, Hernandez says, "and when we called the people at the headquarters to come and unlock the front door for us, they were really happy. We're both tired."

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Kelsey Whipple
Yesterday, Senator Irene Aguilar checked their health and warned both not to eat solid foods for the next two days. This means a delay before their dream food -- chicken and black beans (Hernandez) and a hamburger (Gomez). In the meantime, "It feels nice to smell fresh air," Gomez says.

Update, 2:16 p.m. June 11: For almost six days, Veronica Gomez and Javier Hernandez have staged a hunger-strike inside Denver's Obama For America campaign headquarters to urge the President to sign an executive order halting the deportation of undocumented immigrant youth like themselves. This week, they expect a national response to their efforts. Over the weekend, Senator Irene Aguilar visited the protesters to check on their condition, which has its ups and downs.

"Yesterday, it was really hard for us, especially for Javier," Gomez says of their hunger. "We have heartburn. Mentally, we feel like we can do this still, but physically our bodies are telling us differently."

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Javier Hernandez and Veronica Gomez
Courtesy of Campaign for an American Dream
Aguilar, who is also a doctor, recommended five bottles of PediaLyte per day, Gomez says, which means the activists will need to increase their previous intake by four rations daily. Although their hunger strike is taking its toll on their bodies, they say the physical occupation became easier when they organized a friendly discussion with one of the Obama For America campaign employees over the weekend. Since Tuesday, they have occupied the headquarters' front room, and its front door is locked to prohibit others from entering. They have essentially shut down the building.

"They wanted to know when it was going to end and said we were disrupting their campaign," Gomez says, " and we talked about our message and our plans. Since then, It's been a lot better communication, but we're still sticking to our message."

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Supporters greet the activists from outside the front window.
Courtesy of Campaign for an American Dream
A religious group, a live band and a troupe of indigenous dancers also visited the Gomez and Hernandez during the weekend to say a prayer and perform in support of the activists. This morning, the National Immigrant Youth Alliance issued a call to action, asking supporters to occupy other Obama headquarters across the country with a similar message.

"We will not accept gridlock as an excuse for our deportations when the President can stop them with an executive order," the statement reads. "We will occupy these offices as long as necessary."

In the meantime, Hernandez and Gomez will hold a press conference today at 5 p.m., and they promise "big news" about their future plans -- and their protest's longevity.

Click through for our original coverage.


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Benjamin
Benjamin

 Or they could choose to stay in Mexico after college and serve their country with their new education and help make Mexico a country worth living in instead of one to flee from, now that sounds like something proud enough to wrap a Mexican flag around on Cinco de Mayo. Stay and fight for your country, like we did ours. Get a good occupation, move into Mexico's upper class, send money back here to your family so you can all move back to that culture and country you say you are so proud of. Ignoring the Catholic church and practicing birth-control is a good place to start.

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

 Good idea. This is what I would do if I were in their shoes and I'm not being sarcastic. Attend college in Mexico and apply for U.S. Visa in the interim. How ideal is that? They will have their education and when they graduate they can become U.S. citizens.

Benjamin
Benjamin

Hey DREAMERS, your prayers have been answered! : "Top Universities of Mexico"..."Apart from tourism, education is also a major generator of revenue, especially in recent years as more and more students find that the education system in Mexico is as per international standards, but not that expensive. Mexico is home to many prestigious institutes and universities where students from all over the world are enrolled. Providing quality education has become the USP of Mexican universities. http://www.indobase.com/study-abroad/countries/mexico/top-universities.html Universidad De Las Americas Universidad Iberoamericana Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) Universidad de Quintana Roo Universidad Popular Autonoma del Estado de Puebla Universidad Popular de la Chontalpa Universidad Veracruzana Universidad Juarez del Estado de Durango Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco

Big Fella
Big Fella

Why wasn't ICE waiting outside for them?

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Protected from what? Students who want to attend college ?

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

 Don't you have a job? You sure seem to post incessantly on this website. Also, I guess citizens of countries around the world are KKK member for wanting to have their borders and sovereignty protected. Idiot...

blah blah blah
blah blah blah

We need to make it harder, not easier on these people who are here illegally. We need to finally send a message that we cannot tolerate this anymore. Charge these students twice, three times as much. They should have to pay for their parents mistakes and learn a lesson. There has got to be a beginning to the end of this illegal alien mess. The line has to be drawn eventually...

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

HipTip -- they are RESIDENTS of Colorado, regardless of "citizenship", and as such should pay that same as any other RESIDENT.

Guest
Guest

You spelled the word "spelled" as "Spelt"....

Shantaram
Shantaram

 So curious,  how are we defining citizens? Is it based on how long they live here legally or illegally?  Is that going to be a standard for people from all over the world?  Pass a threshold number of years here illegally or be here by a certain age and avoid deportation and then you're legal?

Johnbrown
Johnbrown

Actually, it makes perfect sense. Under the Obama administration, more undocumented people have been deported than ever before. And he has the power to sign the executive order that they want, ending the deportation of students. His first term was filled with so much "progressive" work, that I'm sure his second term will surely be amazing! (SNARK!)

Jasmine Sailing
Jasmine Sailing

 They were BROUGHT here when they were 3 and 4. They've lived their lives here, this is their home. It's not like they're living irresponsibly, they're going to college. And now they're standing up for other young people, like them, who could suddenly lose the only homes they've ever known and be deported to a country they barely (or don't at all) remember.

Danny Escobedo
Danny Escobedo

Dreamers.. stop looking for a handout,  Go  study and make something for yourself where you were born. Part of living here is knowing that this Nation is governed by laws, you are not an exception.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

Russia and Cuba have laws requiring people to remain in the same towns they were born in, unless they get Government permission to move. You'd like that, wouldn't you?

Guest
Guest

I don't blame immigrants for the state of the U.S. economy.  I actually do think the rich are to blame for most of the problems in the United States.  But I think there are legitimate reasons for not passing the DREAM Act. 1969, you shouldn't dismiss those who feel it's a huge financial burden to pay additional tax money for students who aren't citizens.  Walk in the shoes of the average, working class American who already pays high tax rates and gets little sympathy, and at the same time watches their continual downward mobility. Yes, the tax rates aren't fair, yes, it would be great if there were plenty of jobs and no stupid wars in the Middle East.  However, until that time comes the DREAM Act seems inherently unfair and an added burden to citizens who have already reached an economic breaking point.  It's not hate, it's reality.

jon
jon

deport them already. i hear Mexico is beautiful this time of year.  their parents cut in line and now legal immigrants have to wait forever because of people like this. go to the back of the line and stop cheating. we don't have room in america for everyone who want to come in and we can't afford to take care of the 3rd world anymore. go home, get in line.

Shantaram
Shantaram

 I have absolutely no idea what you're trying to say.

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